I discovered the Japanese bakery called Isshimo one fine Saturday morning at the Bushwick Farmers Market, which is run by lifelong friends and music partners Ai Isshiki and Sakiko Mori. The name Isshimo is a combination of their last names ISS -hiki + MOri. Continue reading →
A friend of mine and I were just discussing which of our senses we could live without. After a bit of thinking I had settled on smell— a decision directly related to living in a city where ambient smells are cheap, plentiful, confusing, and often punishing as summer wears on. But it’s autumn now, thankfully, and the air is crisp (or it’s going to be soon? Next week? By Halloween?), and if I couldn’t smell I’d miss some of the best things about this season…leaf piles, wood stoves, hot apple cider, and fresh concord grapes!
It’s not everyday you meet a baker so extraordinary she goes by the name “Cake Hero.” One look at the treats Melissa Torres has masterminded and you’ll understand why the name suits her. As owner of the online shop Cake Hero, Torres spends her days creating, baking, and decorating an abundance of sweet treats out of the comfort of her Greenpoint home. She bakes everything from candies to elaborate cakes that are specially ordered by a variety of clientele. In addition to baking for friends and family, Torres has designed cakes for the likes of Cartier, Nickelodeon and most recently Vogue.
I had the chance to ask Melissa a few questions about how she got started and how she caught such a major fashion magazine’s attention.
There is nothing more refreshing on a hot and muggy day than fresh shaved ice. A group of local artists opened Brooklyn Raspa’O, a Colombian shaved ice stand at McCarren Deli & Grill (57 Nassau Ave) open Thursdays-Sundays in the afternoon. Their homemade syrups are 100% organic with lots of interesting toppings to chose from.
Since Brooklyn Raspa’O is around the block from Greenpointers HQ, I have been there multiple times. On my first visit I tried the strawberry mint and the lemon ginger honey, but I didn’t get fancy with toppings.
On my second visit, I ordered the Espresso from Ky, who said she would make it the way she liked it. Being an espresso purists, I would never have ordered it with sweet red beans and mochi, which are gooey rice cakes, drizzled with condensed milk. That sounds crazy, but it was out of this world! The toppings served the same purpose as sweet marshmallows in kid’s cereal; even after the last one you keep searching for that sweet flavor and satisfying texture beneath the shaved ice, which is not sickeningly syrupy sweet.
I can’t wait to go back for the Passion Fruit Chili!
Have you tried Brooklyn Raspa’O yet? What do you think?
Attention all you ice cream freaks who happen to be vegan, Van Leeuwen (632 Manhattan Ave) just rolled out a new line of Vegan Ice Cream – and it rules! So stop feeling sorry for yourself and grab some VEGAN ice cream.
I taste tested Van Leeuwen’s vegan ice cream at a non-vegan dinner party in which I was asked to bring dessert. More specifically I was asked to bring Tiramusu, but no Italian bakeries were open and besides I don’t eat Tiramisu unless my cousin Roseanne makes it. So vegan ice cream it was and everyone loved it! It was gone in a few minutes and everyone wondered wanted more.
Personally I preferred the chocolate, which was extremely rich, creamy and chocolately. It has an underlying hint of coconut in a very delicious way. I am looking forward to new weekly flavors!
We chatted with the folks at Van Leeuwen about this new and miraculous vegan creation. Continue reading →
I was honored to be asked to judge a Cupcake Bake-Off fundraiser for NAG a few weeks back and I actually delayed my vacation a day in order to attend. Cupcakes in mass quantity totally beat vacations. It’s instant brain happiness.
This is the second major “celebrity” judge opportunity I’ve had – the last one was the Halloween Dog Parade Costume Contest. I admit it’s starting to get to my head. The other judges were Ovenly’s head baker Hannah Duke, Carmen Rodriguez of Brooklyn Cupcake, and Councilmember Diana Reyna.
The Cupcake Bake-Off was held in The Brooklyn Kitchen’s awesome event space and as the contestants filed in with their goodies, I was drooling. The colors, shapes, sizes – cupcake overload! Continue reading →
On a recent super top secret important Greenpointers business meeting, I needed some sweet and Lauren at Milk n’ Roses described an Italian pastry stuffed with cheese and flavored ever so slightly with orange. “Give me that!”
What came was a sfogliatella, so I know why she didn’t even try to pronounce it. (Sf-oy-yuh-tell-uh) Crazy Italians! Who cares how to say it? It’s delicious and you shouldn’t talk with your mouth full anyway.
After working at an Italian bakery as a teenager in Queens, I quickly got sick of all the cannolis, rainbow cookies and the collect calls from the bakery owner’s mafioso son in jail, but I never got sick of the sfogliatelle (that’s plural).
Sfogliatelle are Nonna, my Sicilian grandmother’s, favorite dessert so it’s always in the box of pastries we bring to her house when we have our traditional Sunday eat-until-you-pass-out feast.
It is crispy dough infinitely layered into the shaped of a shell and inside is soft and not too sweet ricotta with a nice citrus tang and dusted with powdered sugar. Try one next time you’re at Milk n’ Roses (1110 Manhattan Ave), they’re irresistible!
A few months ago I purchased this doughnut map that features 35 of the best places to get a doughnut in New York City. It was the best $10 I’ve ever spent. Since receiving the map, I’ve been traveling throughout the boroughs eating a shit-ton of donuts and probably gaining a few pounds, but whatever. I’m having the time of my life.
Yesterday I went to #1 on the map, Peter Pan Bakery (on Manhattan between Norman and Meserole). I had never been before. Why? Because I’m out of my goddamn mind, that’s why. The place is a 10-minute walk from my apartment and serves some of the most delicious doughnuts I’ve ever tasted, and I promise you, I’ve tasted plenty.
Are you aware that they have a doughnut with frosting and red velvet cake crumbled ON TOP of the doughnut?
Are you also aware that their donuts are only $1? And the more you buy, the less they cost? Ten donuts, for instance, costs $8 and change. THAT’S IT.
I was so overwhelmed by the variety of donuts and scent of sweets that I started convulsing. It wasn’t the cold air outside. It was the ‘nuts, man. This place is no joke. No wonder Tina Fey once said she wanted to violate them.
If you live in Greenpoint, please don’t make the same mistake I did. Get off your ass, head to Peter Pan and go get a doughnut….or seven. I bought seven. YOLO.